The Clockwork Intelligence, an existentially troubled alien steampunk computer, had a plan. It was a plan that led to the war which shattered the Grand Civilization of the Nine. It was going to steal the creation of Sarussamog of the Gates: The paradox engine. Its purpose was to commit suicide and universal genocide at the same time, to generate a time-paradox so far-reaching as to squeeze all of spacetime into a single point-like instant in which nothing and everything would exist at once because the universe would simultaneously collapse in a Big Crunch and tear itself apart in a Big Rip. All so that no one would suffer the torment of existence.
The war to capture or steal the device, preferably torn from the smoking corpse of Sarussamog, destroyed worlds and sundered galaxies billions of years ago, and the Grand Civilization was no more. Presumably, the Clockwork Intelligence was also destroyed, or at least hasn’t been seen since. Needless to say, the device remained at large, and Sarussamog escaped, alive and relatively unharmed.
But the Intelligence (I’ll just refer to it as CI from here on.)would have been sorely disappointed had it actually acquired the machine. The truth of the matter is that paradox engines don’t work that way, beyond restructuring the laws that govern how a universe is put together and affecting causal laws in very minor and non-catastrophic ways.
Even then, it’s an enormously powerful technology.
The real work of the paradox engine lies in its main function; to selectively create a new timeline from an old one, in which a present or missing feature of the old is missing or present in the new. Like the existence of a being, a species, a planet, a galaxy, or any other sort of entity found or not in the old.
The paradox engine’s process essentially makes a new universe, and physically shifts the user to that one. But it does so at extreme cost; the annihilation of the original timeline, all forms of matter and energy in it cannibalized instantaneously to fuel the branching off of the new timeline from the old.
Repeated use of the device for that function makes the user a serial World destroyer and mass-murderer extraordinaire. The CI would have discovered upon using the device that it continued to exist, even if it branched off a timeline with no life of any other sort in it.
And that, I think, would have been a fate worse than death, even for an insane alien god-computer. Still, one has to admit, attempting to commit suicide and take everyone else with you is still rather unpleasant, even if the suicide fails and everybody else dies.
Tf. Tk. Tts.